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{{Studio_Framework_Navigation}}
 
 
 
== Introduction ==
 
== Introduction ==
  
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If you are stuck or have questions about this page post on [https://forum.boardgamearena.com/viewforum.php?f=12 BGA Developers forum].
 
If you are stuck or have questions about this page post on [https://forum.boardgamearena.com/viewforum.php?f=12 BGA Developers forum].
 
If you're uncomfortable posting on the public forum you can send messages directly to developers who post answers on that forum but NOT the BGA admins.
 
If you're uncomfortable posting on the public forum you can send messages directly to developers who post answers on that forum but NOT the BGA admins.
If you find typos in this wiki - fix it.
+
If you find typos in this wiki - fix them.
  
 
== Select a First Game ==
 
== Select a First Game ==
  
 
For your first '''real''' game you must either
 
For your first '''real''' game you must either
* Select a game from [https://en.studio.boardgamearena.com/licensing Available Licenses]
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* Select a game from [https://studio.boardgamearena.com/licensing Available Licenses]
 
* Or from the Public Domain
 
* Or from the Public Domain
  
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Once you selected the game but before creating a new project, please take a few seconds to check that someone is not already developing this game. If it is the case, maybe you can propose to join the project?
 
Once you selected the game but before creating a new project, please take a few seconds to check that someone is not already developing this game. If it is the case, maybe you can propose to join the project?
  
[http://en.studio.boardgamearena.com/#!projects Check the list of current projects]
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[http://studio.boardgamearena.com/#!projects Check the list of current projects]
  
Even if you see a few projects with name of the game they may not be active. There are a lot of abandoned game projects. If it's not clear by the status, post to Developers forum asking if anybody actively working on the project or send a message to developers listed for the abandoned projects, and at the same time ask admins on the same forum post to send you graphics for that game if they have them (there a button on [https://en.studio.boardgamearena.com/licensing Available Licenses] page to request graphics, but it will just send email).
+
Even if you see a few projects with name of the game they may not be active. There are a lot of abandoned game projects. If it's not clear by the status, post to the Developers forum asking if anybody is actively working on the project or send a message to the developers listed for the abandoned projects, and at the same time ask admins on the same forum to post to send you graphics for that game if they have them (there a button on [https://studio.boardgamearena.com/licensing Available Licenses] page to request graphics, but it will just send an email).
  
If your goal was to fix bugs in an existing project, first try to locate on studio, projects developed by bga admins are not in the studio. Then get read only access to the project and you can create your own as a copy of the existing one. Contact existing project admin about getting write access to the original project or if they willing to take your patches - apply them.
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If your goal was to fix bugs in an existing project, first try to locate it on Studio, projects developed by BGA admins are not in the Studio. Then get read only access to the project and you can create your own as a copy of the existing one. Contact existing project admin about getting write access to the original project or if they are willing to take your patches - apply them.
  
If you want to take over an existing project first ask on forum to see if project is abandoned, then get read only access (via project list) and see if this worth using it, if it has no code or graphics just start from the scratch, don't worry about project name it can be renamed later.
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If you want to take over an existing project first ask on the forum to see if the project is abandoned, then get read only access (via project list) and see if this is worth using it, if it has no code or graphics just start from the scratch, don't worry about project name it can be renamed later.
  
 
== Create a project ==
 
== Create a project ==
  
 
If you have not already, you have to create a project in BGA Studio for this game. If the original game name is taken use gamenameYOURINITIALS
 
If you have not already, you have to create a project in BGA Studio for this game. If the original game name is taken use gamenameYOURINITIALS
template, i.e."heartsla". Don't worry too much about the name, if game would be good enough to be publish it will be renamed to original name.  
+
template, i.e."heartsla". Don't worry too much about the name, if the game is good enough to publish, it will be renamed to its original name.  
  
 
Find and start the game in turn based mode, make sure it works.
 
Find and start the game in turn based mode, make sure it works.
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Note: if you have not setup [http://en.doc.boardgamearena.com/Tools_and_tips_of_BGA_Studio#File_Sync FTP auto-sync] yet, do it now, manually copying files is a no-starter.
 
Note: if you have not setup [http://en.doc.boardgamearena.com/Tools_and_tips_of_BGA_Studio#File_Sync FTP auto-sync] yet, do it now, manually copying files is a no-starter.
  
Update your project status in [http://en.studio.boardgamearena.com/#!studio Control Panel > Manage games] page, you can say "development started" or "waiting for license" or "waiting for graphics" or combination of those.
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Update your project status on [http://studio.boardgamearena.com/#!studio Control Panel > Manage games] page, you can say "development started" or "waiting for the license" or "waiting for graphics" or a combination of those.
  
  
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== Development Tools ==
 
== Development Tools ==
  
At some point you need to setup your development environment which consist of multiple tools, such as
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At some point, you need to setup your development environment which consists of multiple tools, such as
 
* Editor or IDE
 
* Editor or IDE
 
* Browser with dev tools
 
* Browser with dev tools
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* Version control tools
 
* Version control tools
  
Please scan though articles from [[Studio#BGA_Studio_user_guide]] especially related to debugging and tools, there is a lot of useful info there.
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Please scan through articles from [[Studio#BGA_Studio_user_guide]] especially those related to debugging and tools, there is a lot of useful info there.
  
 
== Hook version control system ==
 
== Hook version control system ==
  
If its a real game I would commit the code to version control right at start. You going to find yourself in the situation
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If it's a real game, I would commit the code to version control right at the start. You are going to find yourself in a situation where the game does not even start anymore and there is no way of debugging it unless you have a way to revert. That is where version control becomes very handy.
when game does not even start anymore and no way of debugging it unless you have a way to revert. That is where version control becomes very handy.
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If you don't know what I am talking about then at least back-up your files after each of the major steps. Starting now.
If you don't know what I am talking about then at least back-up your files after each of major steps. Starting now.
 
 
You can also create a project on github, but make sure '''you don't commit original publisher graphics files''' and '''you don't include a file with your sftp password''' (github is automatically crawled for passwords by hackers; a hacking attempt occurred on BGA studio for this reason in June 2020).
 
You can also create a project on github, but make sure '''you don't commit original publisher graphics files''' and '''you don't include a file with your sftp password''' (github is automatically crawled for passwords by hackers; a hacking attempt occurred on BGA studio for this reason in June 2020).
You can (and should) also commit your modification periodically via studio's control panel.
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You can (and should) also commit your modification periodically via Studio Control Panel.
  
 
== Obtain game graphics ==
 
== Obtain game graphics ==
  
If you developing a game from Available Licenses games, ask the admins to send you graphics by contacting studio@boardgamearena.com. While that request is being processed (it can take time, as it often requires some back and forth between the admins and the publishers) you can proceed to next step - project creation.
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If you developing a game from the Available Licenses section, ask the admins to send you graphics by using the '''Request Art Files''' button available on the studio license page. While that request is being processed (it can take time, as it often requires some back and forth between the admins and the publishers) you can proceed to the next step - project creation.
  
 
If you don't get original graphics you go to '''Scavenger Hunt'''
 
If you don't get original graphics you go to '''Scavenger Hunt'''
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* If you developing a public domain card game you can borrow standard cards from BGA generic assets, see [[Common_board_game_elements_image_resources]]
 
* If you developing a public domain card game you can borrow standard cards from BGA generic assets, see [[Common_board_game_elements_image_resources]]
 
* Standard game pieces - meeples, cubes, dice can be found here as well [[Common_board_game_elements_image_resources]]
 
* Standard game pieces - meeples, cubes, dice can be found here as well [[Common_board_game_elements_image_resources]]
* Go to boardgamegeek.com find your game and obtain 3D game box image, 2D box image, and if you lucky they also sometime have boards and token scans in "Game Pieces" section of Images
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* Go to boardgamegeek.com find your game and obtain 3D game box image, 2D box image, and if you are lucky they also sometimes have boards and token scans in "Game Pieces" section of Images
* If that fail google "boardgame <name>" and check Images section
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* If that fails, google "boardgame <name>" and check the Images section
* Get the rules PDF as well, there tools that allows you to extract graphics from PDF, which usually good for meeples, cubes and such (can use pdfimages command line tool)
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* Get the rules PDF as well, there're tools that allow you to extract graphics from PDF, which are usually good for meeples, cubes and such (can use pdfimages command line tool)
  
Once you get the graphics one way or another you have to massage it to fit in the BGA criteria, which usually involves
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Once you get the graphics one way or another you have to massage them to fit in the BGA criteria, which usually involves
* If publisher sends graphics in one token/card per file mode, you have to stitch them in sprite and scale down
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* If the publisher sends graphics in one token/card per file mode, you have to stitch them in sprite and scale down
 
* For non square tiles and game pieces you need transparency
 
* For non square tiles and game pieces you need transparency
* Usually you chop off scoring "ring" around the board of the game since scoring track not needed for online adaptation
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* Usually you chop off the scoring "ring" around the board of the game since the scoring track is not needed for online adaptation
  
 
More details about graphics requirements can be found here [[Game art: img directory]].
 
More details about graphics requirements can be found here [[Game art: img directory]].
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== Obtain game documentation ==
 
== Obtain game documentation ==
  
Also at this time obtain a electronic copy of rules, such as PDF (English version).  
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Also at this time obtain an electronic copy of rules, such as PDF (English version).  
  
 
Also grab any other documents you may find on boardgamegeek such as FAQ, additional Reference books, and user created assistant documents, such
 
Also grab any other documents you may find on boardgamegeek such as FAQ, additional Reference books, and user created assistant documents, such
as cheat-sheets (may be easier to get a data from these then trying to scrub pdf). You create and place them in the doc/ folder of the project then
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as cheat-sheets (may be easier to get data from these than trying to scrub pdf). You create and place them in the doc/ folder of the project then
 
exclude them from version control. There is also a misc/ folder now but it will hold up to 1 Mb of data files which would be checked in, so rules pdf's may not fit there.
 
exclude them from version control. There is also a misc/ folder now but it will hold up to 1 Mb of data files which would be checked in, so rules pdf's may not fit there.
  
  
== Update game infos and box graphics ==
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== Update game info and box graphics ==
  
Even it does not nothing yet start with making sure game looks descent in the game selector, meaning it has nice box graphics and information is correct.  
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Even if is not playable yet, start with making sure the game looks descent in the game selector, meaning it has nice box graphics and the information is correct.  
  
 
For that we need to edit [[Game_meta-information: gameinfos.inc.php|gameinfos.inc.php]].
 
For that we need to edit [[Game_meta-information: gameinfos.inc.php|gameinfos.inc.php]].
What you would do for real game you would go to http://boardgamegeek.com find the game and use the information from web-site to fill the gameinfos.
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What you would do for the real game you would go to http://boardgamegeek.com find the game and use information from the website to fill the gameinfos.
  
  
The next step is to replace game_box.png with proper images, usually you can find all images including publisher logo on boardgamegeek website.
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The next step is to replace game_box.png with proper images, usually, you can find all images including the publisher logo on the boardgamegeek website.
 +
 
 +
Game metadata images, such box image are now managed in separate tool.
  
 
Details about images can be found here: [[Game art: img directory]].
 
Details about images can be found here: [[Game art: img directory]].
  
Now important step. You have to LOAD these files in studio website through control panel. So go to Control Panel -> Manager Games -> YOURPROJECT
+
 
and press Reload for 'Reload game informations' and 'Reload game box image'
 
  
 
[[File:Gamepanel_sharedcode.png]]
 
[[File:Gamepanel_sharedcode.png]]
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== Fix source copyright ==
 
== Fix source copyright ==
  
Now since you have your own project, you want put your name in the copyright header, so replace
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Now since you have your own project, you want to put your name in the copyright header, so replace
  
 
   © <Your name here> <Your email address here>
 
   © <Your name here> <Your email address here>
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   © John Snow <jsnow@gameofthrones.com>
 
   © John Snow <jsnow@gameofthrones.com>
  
Well not exactly this but whatever your real name is. For all files in project directory, its about 10 files. Make sure project still starts after that :)
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Well not exactly this but whatever your real name is. For all files in the project directory, it's about 10 files. Make sure the project still starts after that :)
  
 
== Reduce the Rules ==
 
== Reduce the Rules ==
  
Programming a game will take a lot more time than you may think. Most of the projects in the studio are abandoned because of lack of patience or skill.
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Programming a game will take a lot more time than you may think. Most of the projects in the studio are abandoned because of a lack of patience or skill.
 
To keep sane, start the game with *reduced* rules and try to complete that first.
 
To keep sane, start the game with *reduced* rules and try to complete that first.
  
 
* If it has any expansions - do not even attempt to deal with them, not even - "I will just add graphics for them now and not use" - waste of time if you don't complete basic
 
* If it has any expansions - do not even attempt to deal with them, not even - "I will just add graphics for them now and not use" - waste of time if you don't complete basic
 
* If it has advanced rules - start with basic rules only, i.e. "beginner game"
 
* If it has advanced rules - start with basic rules only, i.e. "beginner game"
* If it has special rules for 2 player vs 4, start with most basic form (i.e. 4), restrict to 4 players  
+
* If it has special rules for 2 players vs 4, start with the most basic form (i.e. 4), restrict to 4 players  
 
* If it has 50 unique cards of 2 each - start with 2 unique cards with 25 each (just to keep it moving)
 
* If it has 50 unique cards of 2 each - start with 2 unique cards with 25 each (just to keep it moving)
 
* Any sort of rules that you think can be removed and not included in base - set aside for now  
 
* Any sort of rules that you think can be removed and not included in base - set aside for now  
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== Design Game Elements ==
 
== Design Game Elements ==
Technically game elements are already designed by board game designer but your job is to map it to program space.
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Technically game elements are already designed by a board game designer but your job is to map them to program space.
Each physical piece (card, token, cube) will leave footprints all over the code (unfortunatly in multiple disconnected places).
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Each physical piece (card, token, cube) will leave footprints all over the code (unfortunately in multiple disconnected places).
To prepare the game you need to sort out these elements, i.e. categorize. I usually have to the following categorization (in object oriented view):
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To prepare the game you need to sort out these elements, i.e. categorize. I usually have the following categorization (in object oriented view):
 
* Instance - all individual pieces are instances, i.e. two red cubes are two instances of 'red cube' type (class)
 
* Instance - all individual pieces are instances, i.e. two red cubes are two instances of 'red cube' type (class)
* Type - element type which distinctly represents that element in appearence (i.e. red cube is different type than blue cube)
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* Type - element type which distinctly represents that element in appearance (i.e. red cube is a different type than blue cube)
* Super Type - one of more common types that similar properties (i.e. red OR cube)
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* Super Type - one of the more common types that similar properties (i.e. red OR cube)
* Player color - supertype specific for player color (sometimes there is no colors but like player 1 - but is conceptually the same, I use color because its easier to track)
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* Player color - supertype specific for player color (sometimes there are no colors but like player 1 - but is conceptually the same, I use color because it's easier to track)
  
Personally I like to encode my elements in string using reverse dns notation listing all the properties above, i.e.
+
Personally, I like to encode my elements in a string using reverse DNS notation listing all the properties above, i.e.
 
   meeple_ff0000_7 - this is instance #7 of type meeple_ff0000 (red meeple)
 
   meeple_ff0000_7 - this is instance #7 of type meeple_ff0000 (red meeple)
 
Or
 
Or
   card_yellow_magic_2 - this is instance #2 of yellow card (in this case yellow is color of deck not related to player color) that can do magic
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   card_yellow_magic_2 - this is instance #2 of a yellow card (in this case yellow is the color of the deck, not related to player color) that can do magic
  
 
So every game element would be in the
 
So every game element would be in the
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   meeple_ff0000_7|slot_action_2|1
 
   meeple_ff0000_7|slot_action_2|1
 
   meeple_ff0000_2|tableau_ff0000|0
 
   meeple_ff0000_2|tableau_ff0000|0
2. Material file - types and supertypes, we never need repeating info here, so never list individual instances but only types or supertypes, in this case we don't really need to define red meeple vs blue meeple
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2. Material file - types and supertypes, we never need repeating info here, so never list individual instances but only types or supertypes, in this case, we don't really need to define red meeple vs blue meeple
 
   'meeple'=>{'name'=>totranslate('Meeple')}
 
   'meeple'=>{'name'=>totranslate('Meeple')}
 
3. Client (js, css, tpl, etc) - instances and types. For example my meeple will be like  
 
3. Client (js, css, tpl, etc) - instances and types. For example my meeple will be like  
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   .meeple { background-image: url(img/tokens.png); width: 2em; height: 2em;}
 
   .meeple { background-image: url(img/tokens.png); width: 2em; height: 2em;}
 
   .meeple_ff0000 {background-position: 20% 0%;}
 
   .meeple_ff0000 {background-position: 20% 0%;}
4. Game php - setup and logic. During setup you have to generate all the pieces and place them in right positions. Also sometimes you need to reference elements to code the logic (I usually try to encode all rules in material file as much as possible)
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4. Game php - setup and logic. During setup, you have to generate all the pieces and place them in the right positions. Also sometimes you need to reference elements to code the logic (I usually try to encode all rules in the material file as much as possible)
  
For complex card games I think it is the best to keep all these info and rules in spreadsheet and generate other files such as material.inc.php.
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For complex card games, I think it is best to keep all these info and rules in a spreadsheet and generate other files such as material.inc.php.
See more info below about design of the individual layers.
+
See more info below about the design of the individual layers.
  
 
== Create Initial Layout and Game Graphics ==
 
== Create Initial Layout and Game Graphics ==
  
Mentally it is easier to start with game layout and graphics pieces. Even when nothing is working its give you moral satisfaction!
+
Mentally it is easier to start with the game layout and graphics pieces. Even when nothing is working it gives you moral satisfaction!
  
 
There are a few ways how the html could have been generated. You could have started with nothing and generate
 
There are a few ways how the html could have been generated. You could have started with nothing and generate
it all by java script, or you could have started with complete game markup in html and make java script just hide and move pieces around. BGA framework also provides a third way, which is mix of both, plus a template engine to generate HTML using php. The only thing that is really annoying about the template engine is
+
it all by javascript, or you could have started with complete game markup in html and make javascript just hide and move pieces around. BGA framework also provides a third way, which is mix of both, plus a template engine to generate HTML using PHP. The only thing that is really annoying about the template engine is that you cannot put any translatable strings in the template (which means any visible text at all). If you are using the template approach all strings have to be extracted as variables and injected through PHP (.view.php). This page explains the template engine in great detail:[[Game_layout:_view_and_template:_yourgamename.view.php_and_yourgamename_yourgamename.tpl|Template Engine]].
that you cannot put any translatable strings in the template (which means any visible text at all). If you are using the template approach all strings have to extracted as variables and injected through php (.view.php). This page explains the template engine in great detail:[[Game_layout:_view_and_template:_yourgamename.view.php_and_yourgamename_yourgamename.tpl|Template Engine]].
 
  
 
The other disadvantage of the template engine is you cannot run and debug it locally, in the beginning of development it's a lot faster run off local pages,  
 
The other disadvantage of the template engine is you cannot run and debug it locally, in the beginning of development it's a lot faster run off local pages,  
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During this step you have to decide what technical solutions you will be using, such as
 
During this step you have to decide what technical solutions you will be using, such as
 
* Use inline positioning of all moving pieces, controlled by JS. There are a few classes that already exist in Studio to help with that (see [[Studio#Game_interface_.28Client_side.29|Game Interface - Client Side]]). OR use html/css layout engine to position pieces (my personal choice).
 
* Use inline positioning of all moving pieces, controlled by JS. There are a few classes that already exist in Studio to help with that (see [[Studio#Game_interface_.28Client_side.29|Game Interface - Client Side]]). OR use html/css layout engine to position pieces (my personal choice).
* Use BGA template engine OR create all ui elements by JS OR manually write or generate complete html markup. The game usually contain 200-300 pieces, it seems wrong but actually its faster to type all of this up in html/css when trying write than debug code for page generator.
+
* Use BGA template engine OR create all ui elements by JS OR manually write or generate complete html markup. The game usually contains 200-300 pieces, it seems wrong but actually its faster to type all of this up in html/css when trying write than debug code for page generator.
 
Static HTML markup also means you have to use players color or abstracted player number (such as red is 1, blue is 2) not player id's anywhere in JS, since player id is dynamic by nature.
 
Static HTML markup also means you have to use players color or abstracted player number (such as red is 1, blue is 2) not player id's anywhere in JS, since player id is dynamic by nature.
  
Start by creating and mapping all games assets, best way is probably to open rule book on "boardgame contents" page and go through every piece. Every pieces of boardgame would have its "print" in multiple files in your game:
+
Start by creating and mapping all games assets, best way is probably to open rule book on "boardgame contents" page and go through every piece. Every piece of boardgame would have its "print" in multiple files in your game:
* Some sort if "div" in html, where id of element match id of element in database (easiest way)
+
* Some sort of "div" in html, where id of element match id of element in database (easiest way)
* Css for the element (either unique or for class), usually with background propery refering to part of sprite image
+
* Css for the element (either unique or for class), usually with background property refering to part of sprite image
 
* Entry in material.inc.php referring to static properties of the element, i.e. name, tooltip, rules, etc
 
* Entry in material.inc.php referring to static properties of the element, i.e. name, tooltip, rules, etc
* Entry in .tpl file to represent static or initial location on the table OR creation template
+
* Entry in .tpl file to represent a static or initial location on the table OR creation template
  
 
Here are some specific examples:
 
Here are some specific examples:
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   <div id="board" class="board shadow board4p"> ... </div>
 
   <div id="board" class="board shadow board4p"> ... </div>
 
</pre>
 
</pre>
Create entry in .css file for this board and other board variants (in example below we have 4 ppl board whcih is diffrent than 2 ppl board)
+
Create entry in .css file for this board and other board variants (in example below we have 4 ppl board which is diffrent than 2 ppl board)
 
<pre>
 
<pre>
 
.board {
 
.board {
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}
 
}
 
</pre>
 
</pre>
That wold be pretty much it for the board itself, as it does not really need a tooltip so we don't need entry in material.inc.php
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That would be pretty much it for the board itself, as it does not really need a tooltip so we don't need entry in material.inc.php
  
  
 
'''Game Board Slots'''
 
'''Game Board Slots'''
  
These are interactive areas on the board, usually illustrated as such. In most cases you can get away with rectangular shapes, but sometimes you have to create circle or oval shapes (and in really advanced case would be some svg paths). For slots you can do the following:
+
These are interactive areas on the board, usually illustrated as such. In most cases you can get away with rectangular shapes, but sometimes you have to create circle or oval shapes (and in really advanced case would be some svg paths). For slots you can do the following:
  
 
Entry in material.inc.php
 
Entry in material.inc.php
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'''Meeples''' - also cards, tokens, other mobile stuff
 
'''Meeples''' - also cards, tokens, other mobile stuff
  
In css these guys will use "sprite" images with transparency, so it will look like this this
+
In CSS these guys will use "sprite" images with transparency, so it will look like this this:
 
<pre>
 
<pre>
 
.meeple {
 
.meeple {
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* Create material.inc.php and populate with initial values (names, tooltips, rules) for all relevant game elements or classes of elements
 
* Create material.inc.php and populate with initial values (names, tooltips, rules) for all relevant game elements or classes of elements
  
If at this time you don't have graphics yet create pieces with just css, you can use shape, background color and object text using css ::after construct to fake the pieces.
+
If at this time you don't have graphics yet create pieces with just CSS, you can use shape, background color and object text using css ::after construct to fake the pieces.
  
  
 
[[File:Injected_text.png]]
 
[[File:Injected_text.png]]
  
== Hook Input and Animation ==
 
 
This step can be done before or after some of the server steps, or you go in iterations switching back and forward until you get it done, up to you.
 
 
At this time you want to hook clicking on pieces and buttons and provide some reaction, such of moving a piece. The handler code will be replaced later by the server hook, but at the beginning you want your game to be alive as early as possible.
 
 
Usually all pieces will be hooked to onclick during JS "setup" method, in addition if you create elements during server notification they have to be hooked up at that time.
 
 
You can play with animation effects you want put in place, in general all the pieces that move in real game should be moving, such as meeples, resources tokens/cubes, cards, vp tokens.
 
Regular piece animation is provided by BGA framework, but if you use html layout positioning not inline positioning you have to remove absolute positions (inline position styling) after each move. The set of functions for relative position token animation can found in https://github.com/elaskavaia/bga-sharedcode/blob/master/sharedcode.js
 
 
Also its a good idea to give player a visual cues on what game elements are clickable now, usually it will be a style, such as "active_slot", with visual effect of white dashed outline (outline is better then border, because border changes will make piece slightly move since it changes the size) or box-shadow (i.e. neon glow)
 
 
If you read [http://www.slideshare.net/boardgamearena/bga-studio-guidelines BGA developers guidelines] you know that you should not get carried away with animation, you are creating a board game not a video game... That also applies to sound effects (in general, you should not use any sounds effects beside already provided by framework).
 
 
See [[Game_interface_logic:_yourgamename.js#Players_input|Player's Input]] and [[Game_interface_logic:_yourgamename.js#Access_and_manipulate_the_DOM|Animation and DOM Manipulation]] for JS reference.
 
  
 
== Create Database Schema ==
 
== Create Database Schema ==
Line 354: Line 335:
 
* Also framework supports basic player information, color, order around the table, basic scoring, etc, so you don't have to worry about it either
 
* Also framework supports basic player information, color, order around the table, basic scoring, etc, so you don't have to worry about it either
 
* The only thing you need in your database is state of the "board", which is "where each pieces is, and in what state", or (position,rotation) pair.
 
* The only thing you need in your database is state of the "board", which is "where each pieces is, and in what state", or (position,rotation) pair.
* The card state is very simple, its usually "face up/face down", "tapped/untapped", "right side up/up side down"
+
* The card state is very simple, it's usually "face up/face down", "tapped/untapped", "right side up/up side down"
 
* As position go we never need real x,y,z. We need to know what "zone" card was, and depending on the zone it may sometimes need an extra "z" or "x" as card order. The zone position itself usually static or irrelevant.
 
* As position go we never need real x,y,z. We need to know what "zone" card was, and depending on the zone it may sometimes need an extra "z" or "x" as card order. The zone position itself usually static or irrelevant.
 
* So our model is: we have cards, which have some attributes, at any given point in time they belong to a "zone", and can also have order and state
 
* So our model is: we have cards, which have some attributes, at any given point in time they belong to a "zone", and can also have order and state
Line 477: Line 458:
 
Game initialization is performed in php method setupNewGame, this method is called once when game table is created.
 
Game initialization is performed in php method setupNewGame, this method is called once when game table is created.
 
Game notifications cannot be sent during this time.
 
Game notifications cannot be sent during this time.
 +
 +
It very hard to debug this method, so this is how we recommend to structure it:
 +
 +
<pre>
 +
protected function setupNewGame($players, $options = []) {
 +
 
 +
  // here is some generate code from template LEAVE IT UNTOUCHED
 +
  ...
 +
 +
  $this->initTables(); // this is YOUR new method
 +
}
 +
 +
function initTables() {
 +
      try {
 +
            $players = $this->loadPlayersBasicInfos();
 +
            // code the function
 +
            $this->activeNextPlayer(); // just in case so its not 0
 +
            $this->initStats(); // to be coded
 +
            // Setup the initial game situation here
 +
            $this->initGameTables(); // to be coded
 +
            // beggining of the turn for active player (if player state if first state)
 +
            $player_id = $this->getActivePlayerId();
 +
            $this->incStat(1, 'turns_number', $player_id);
 +
            $this->incStat(1, 'turns_number');
 +
      } catch ( Exception $e ) {
 +
          // logging does not actually work in game init :(
 +
          // but if you calling from php chat it will work
 +
          $this->error("Fatal error while creating game");
 +
          $this->dump('err', $e);
 +
      }
 +
}
 +
</pre>
 +
 +
For more tricks debugging this See [https://en.doc.boardgamearena.com/Practical_debugging#Debugging_setupNewGame Debugging setupNewGame]
 +
 +
For the init stats, its likely that all of the are int and you can just use this genetic initializer, but your stats have to start with game_ prefix (verbatim):
 +
<pre>
 +
    public function initStats()
 +
    {
 +
        // INIT GAME STATISTIC
 +
        $all_stats = $this->getStatTypes();
 +
        $player_stats = $all_stats['player'];
 +
        // auto-initialize all stats that starts with game_
 +
        // we need a prefix because there is some other system stuff
 +
        foreach ($player_stats as $key => $value) {
 +
            if (startsWith($key, 'game_')) {
 +
                $this->initStat('player', $key, 0);
 +
            }
 +
            if ($key === 'turns_number') {
 +
                $this->initStat('player', $key, 0);
 +
            }
 +
        }
 +
        $table_stats = $all_stats['table'];
 +
        foreach ($table_stats as $key => $value) {
 +
            if (startsWith($key, 'game_')) {
 +
                $this->initStat('table', $key, 0);
 +
            }
 +
            if ($key === 'turns_number') {
 +
                $this->initStat('table', $key, 0);
 +
            }
 +
        }
 +
    }
 +
</pre>
 +
 +
As for init game tables - if you have SQL layer you can use it to initialize everything, if not - the best would be to push everything in php array and then do one inset at the end (after all the fiddling and shuffling).
 +
 +
For example for the token database above, I will push all data into array, then at the end run insert, i.e.
 +
 +
        $values=[];
 +
        $values [] = "('meeple_ff0000_1', 'home_ff0000', 0)"; // this is actually string not array
 +
        ...
 +
        $sql = "INSERT INTO tokens (token_id, place_id, state) VALUES " . implode($values, ',');
 +
        $this->DbQuery($sql);
  
 
== Implement One time game model synchronisation ==
 
== Implement One time game model synchronisation ==
Line 486: Line 540:
  
 
After that on the client side we should display this data, so in your .js file in setup function (which is the receiver of getAllDatas) you add calls that handle data send by server, usually by calling animation function such as "placeToken" or "placeCard".
 
After that on the client side we should display this data, so in your .js file in setup function (which is the receiver of getAllDatas) you add calls that handle data send by server, usually by calling animation function such as "placeToken" or "placeCard".
 +
 +
So this is roughtly what you need to include in getAllDatas():
 +
 +
* Extra player info
 +
* Material file variables, unfortunately they are not included automatically. Note - I strongly recommend using only one variable for generic data information, such as $this->token_types. If you start splitting it i.e. card_types, meeple_types, building_types - it very hard to deal with this programmatically it will be lots of switches. Also call it the same as in php - otherwise its really hard to correlate.
 +
* Game options (if you know how to access them on cient without passing via getAllData() edit this wiki). Example has generic code to pass all options, but you can use custom individual options
 +
* Dump of database tables filtered by current player view
 +
* To be fancy you can also include php constans so you can access them in js as well, example not included
 +
 +
<pre>
 +
    protected function getAllDatas() {
 +
        $result = [];
 +
 +
        // 1. Get information about players
 +
        // Note: you can retrieve some extra field you added for "player" table in "dbmodel.sql" if you need it.
 +
        // would have been much better if its just * but we not looking for easy solutions here! so it all have to be aliases
 +
        $sql = "SELECT player_id id, player_score score, player_no no FROM player"; // note - the framework will all bunch of more fields
 +
        $result ['players'] = self::getCollectionFromDb($sql);
 +
 +
        // 2. Material data
 +
        $result['token_types'] = $this->token_types;
 +
        // 3. Game options
 +
        $table_options = $this->getTableOptions();
 +
        $result ['table_options'] = [];
 +
        foreach ( $table_options as $option_id => $option ) {
 +
            $value = 0;
 +
            if (array_key_exists($option_id, $this->gamestate->table_globals)) {
 +
                $value = (int) $this->gamestate->table_globals [$option_id];
 +
            }
 +
            $result ['table_options'] [$option_id] = $option;
 +
            $result ['table_options'] [$option_id] ['value'] = $value;
 +
        }
 +
        // 4. Rest of the database filtered by current player
 +
        $current_player_id = self::getCurrentPlayerId(); // !! We must only return informations visible by this player !!
 +
        $result ['tokens'] = [];
 +
        $players_basic = $this->loadPlayersBasicInfos();
 +
        foreach ( $players_basic as $player_id => $player_info ) {
 +
            $color = $player_info ['player_color'];
 +
            // tableau is public info
 +
            $result ['tokens']+=$this->tokens->getTokensInLocation("tableau_$color"); // this is sql access layer for tokens table but it can be just raw SQL query with getCollectionFromDb kind of call
 +
            //  hand if private info
 +
            if ($current_player_id==$player_id) {
 +
                $result ['tokens']+=$this->tokens->getTokensInLocation("hand_$color");
 +
            } else {
 +
                $result ['counters']["hand_$color"]=$this->tokens->countTokensInLocation("hand_$color");
 +
            }
 +
        }
 +
        $result ['counters']["deck]=$this->tokens->countTokensInLocation("deck");
 +
        $result ['counters']["discard"]=$this->tokens->countTokensInLocation("discard");
 +
 +
        return $result;
 +
    }
 +
</pre>
  
 
== Create State Machine ==
 
== Create State Machine ==
Line 502: Line 609:
 
a reward token, which offers choice of resource, instead of two states on server just have one state on server and possible few states on client (client side states)
 
a reward token, which offers choice of resource, instead of two states on server just have one state on server and possible few states on client (client side states)
 
to collect this info.
 
to collect this info.
 +
 +
It is important to implement proper state handling on the client, usually it results in big switch in onUpdateActionButtons method.
 +
<pre>
 +
onUpdateActionButtons: function(stateName, args) {
 +
console.log('onUpdateActionButtons: ' + stateName + " " + this.isCurrentPlayerActive() + " args:", args);
 +
if (!this.isCurrentPlayerActive()) return;
 +
 +
switch (stateName) {
 +
case 'playerTurn':
 +
        dojo.query('.card').addClass('active_slot'); // activate board elements, when using static connector, see user input below
 +
                                                // add buttons
 +
this.addActionButton('button_pass', _('Pass'), () => {
 +
this.ajaxcallwrapper('pass');
 +
});
 +
                                        // case...
 +
}
 +
 +
if (this.on_client_state && !$('button_cancel')) {
 +
this.addActionButton('button_cancel', _('Cancel'), 'cancelLocalStateEffects', 0, 0, 'gray');
 +
this.addTooltip('button_cancel', _("This means cancel current action and start thinking"), '');
 +
}
 +
},
 +
 +
</pre>
 +
 +
I keep onLeavingState pretty generic (and onEnteringState just for logging)
 +
<pre>
 +
                onLeavingState: function (stateName) {
 +
                    console.log('Leaving state: ' + stateName);
 +
                    dojo.query('.active_slot').removeClass('active_slot');
 +
                    dojo.query('.selected').removeClass('selected');
 +
                },
 +
 +
</pre>
 +
  
 
== Handle Turn Order ==
 
== Handle Turn Order ==
Line 510: Line 652:
 
Usually turn order is done by "game state" (see state machine above). Basically it would be two choices:
 
Usually turn order is done by "game state" (see state machine above). Basically it would be two choices:
 
* Turn order depends on game situation (such as we take player with highest number of red cubes)
 
* Turn order depends on game situation (such as we take player with highest number of red cubes)
* Turn order is custom and assign on previos step - i.e. we not playing in clockwise order anymore. In this case you either need to extend player table with new order info (cannot! use player_no column) or use natural order markers (i.e. marker_ff0000 on position_1). In this we can buid player array in right order and pick next player based on previous player using existing helper function as $this->createNextPlayerTable
+
* Turn order is custom and assign on previos step - i.e. we not playing in clockwise order anymore. In this case you either need to extend player table with new order info (CANNOT use player_no column) or use order markers that come with game (i.e. marker_ff0000 on position_1). In this we can build player array in right order and pick next player based on previous player using existing helper function such as $this->createNextPlayerTable($player_ids)
 +
 
 +
Handling turn order would go to the game state which is usually follows active player state.
 +
 
 +
== Hook User Input  ==
  
== Implement Notification handling ==
+
This step can be done before or after some of the server steps, or you go in iterations switching back and forward until you get it done, up to you.
  
Now to implement things for real we have hook UI actions to ajax calls, and process notifications send by server.
+
Usually all pieces will be hooked to onclick during JS "setup" method, in addition if you create elements during server notification they have to be hooked up at that time.
So previously we hooked onclick js handler right to client animation, in real game its a two
+
 
step operation. When user clicks on something, client sends an ajax call to server, server processes it and updates database, server sends
+
Also its a good idea to give player a visual cues on what game elements are clickable now, usually it will be a style, such as "active_slot", with visual effect of white dashed outline (outline is better then border, because border changes will make piece slightly move since it changes the size) or box-shadow (i.e. neon glow), that part is done in onUpdateActionsButtons (see above)
 +
 
 +
So classic is static handlers, means handler is added in setup method using framework connect function:
 +
 
 +
  this.connect( $('my_element'), 'onclick', 'onClickOnMyElement' );
 +
 
 +
This is what is advertized in tutorials, however this is best suited for static html model - where elements are not deleted and recreated. When elements created dinamically if you using this method please be aware of memory leaks - this
 +
method stores the pointer to dom element in arrays of handlers (to be able to disconnect later), but if element is deleted you must call this.disconnect before deleting with same node reference, or it will leak.
 +
 
 +
If you using this method your handlers usually look like big ugly switch because it usually depending on state it will do right thing or deny action, typically it will look this this:
 +
 
 +
 
 +
                onCard: function(event) {
 +
                    dojo.stopEvent(event);
 +
                    var id = event.currentTarget.id;
 +
                    console.trace("on slot " + id);
 +
                    if (!id) return null;
 +
                    // check player is active
 +
                    if (!this.isCurrentPlayerActive()) {
 +
                        this.showMessage(__("lang_mainsite", "This is not your turn"), "error");
 +
                        return false;
 +
                    }
 +
                    // check node is marked with "active_slot" class (class name is whatever you want)
 +
                    if (!dojo.hasClass(id, 'active_slot')) {
 +
                        this.showMoveUnauthorized();
 +
                        return false;
 +
                    }
 +
                    switch (this.gamedatas.gamestate.name) {
 +
                        case 'playerTurn': // in this case we directly sending data to the server
 +
                            this.ajaxcallwrapper('playCard',id); // note that this wrapper also calls 'checkAction' on action parameter
 +
                            return true;
 +
                        case 'playerDiscard':  // in this case we need to collect more information, so we using cient state for that
 +
                            dojo.addClass(id,'selected'); // mark card
 +
                            this.setClientState("client_playerTurnSelectBonus", {
 +
                                descriptionmyturn: _('${you} must select bonus for discard'),
 +
                            });
 +
                            return true;
 +
                        default:
 +
                            this.showMoveUnauthorized();
 +
                            return false;
 +
                    }
 +
                },
 +
 
 +
You can also manage listeners yourself (vanilla event listeners or dojo). In this case be aware of registering double listener. See more example in [[Game_interface_logic:_yourgamename.js#Players_input|Player's Input]].
 +
 
 +
Alternative to static handler are dynamic handlers which are only installed on elements that are active for specific game state, given the example above we would register the listeners in playerTurn state, i.e.
 +
in onUpdateActionButtons for playerTurn:
 +
<pre>
 +
  dojo.query('.card').forEach((node) => {
 +
        dojo.addClass(node, 'active_slot');
 +
        dojo.addClass(node, 'temp_click_handler');
 +
        this.connect(node, 'click', event=>this.ajaxcallwrapper('playCard',event.currentTarget.id));
 +
});
 +
</pre>
 +
Above we did not need to do the heavy validation because we only presumably added handler in right state to right node and right active player (and removed correctly in between!)
 +
 
 +
And in onLeavingState we will disconnect all of them (important!):
 +
<pre>
 +
  dojo.query('.temp_click_handler').forEach((node) => {
 +
        dojo.removeClass(node, 'active_slot');
 +
        dojo.removeClass(node, 'temp_click_handler');
 +
        this.disconnect(node, 'click');
 +
});
 +
</pre>
 +
 
 +
When user clicks on something, client sends an ajax call to server, server processes it and updates database, server sends
 
notification in response, client hooks animations to server notification. See [[Game_interface_logic:_yourgamename.js#Notifications|JS Notifications]].
 
notification in response, client hooks animations to server notification. See [[Game_interface_logic:_yourgamename.js#Notifications|JS Notifications]].
  
Line 542: Line 753:
 
},
 
},
 
</pre>
 
</pre>
 +
 +
  
 
When you insert a single action you have to update multiples files:
 
When you insert a single action you have to update multiples files:
 
* in ggg.js add ajaxcall, i.e. something like  
 
* in ggg.js add ajaxcall, i.e. something like  
   this.addActionButton('pass',_('Pass),()=>this.ajaxcallwrapper('pass'));
+
   this.addActionButton('pass',_('Pass'),()=>this.ajaxcallwrapper('pass'));
 
* in states.php - add action 'pass' to list of possible actions
 
* in states.php - add action 'pass' to list of possible actions
 
   'possibleactions' => ['pass','playCard']
 
   'possibleactions' => ['pass','playCard']
Line 556: Line 769:
 
** transition to new state (it very rare that  user will remain in the same state, except for multi-active states)
 
** transition to new state (it very rare that  user will remain in the same state, except for multi-active states)
 
* back to ggg.js add notification subsciption and notification handler (two separate things)
 
* back to ggg.js add notification subsciption and notification handler (two separate things)
 +
 +
== Implement Notification handling and Animation ==
 +
 +
To handle notification you have to subscribe to it and implement the handlers, see [[Game_interface_logic:_yourgamename.js#Notifications|JS Notifications]].
 +
 +
You can play with animation effects you want put in place, in general all the pieces that move in real game should be moving, such as meeples, resources tokens/cubes, cards, vp tokens.
 +
Regular piece animation is provided by BGA framework, but if you use html layout positioning not inline positioning you have to remove absolute positions (inline position styling) after each move. The set of functions for relative position token animation can found in https://github.com/elaskavaia/bga-sharedcode/blob/master/sharedcode.js
 +
 +
If you read [http://www.slideshare.net/boardgamearena/bga-studio-guidelines BGA developers guidelines] you know that you should not get carried away with animation, you are creating a board game not a video game... That also applies to sound effects (in general, you should not use any sounds effects beside already provided by framework).
 +
 +
See  [[Game_interface_logic:_yourgamename.js#Access_and_manipulate_the_DOM|Animation and DOM Manipulation]] for JS reference.
 +
  
 
== Wrap Up ==
 
== Wrap Up ==
 
  
 
* Implement game progression (getGameProgression() in php)
 
* Implement game progression (getGameProgression() in php)
Line 568: Line 792:
 
* UI elements which are images (i.e. tokens, cards) should have tooltips
 
* UI elements which are images (i.e. tokens, cards) should have tooltips
  
 +
== Alpha ==
 +
When you think you game is completely working there is still bunch of stuff you have to do/check before telling admin that game is ready, please go though this [[Pre-release checklist]].
  
When you think you game is completely working there is still bunch of stuff you have to do/check before telling admin that game is ready, please go though this [[Pre-release checklist]].
+
If you think its completely ready, create a build and click on the "Request ALPHA status" button and admins will check your game and push it to alpha.
  
 
Finally, visit the game page for your alpha game (https://boardgamearena.com/gamepanel?game=…) to add the following information if you can:
 
Finally, visit the game page for your alpha game (https://boardgamearena.com/gamepanel?game=…) to add the following information if you can:
Line 578: Line 804:
 
** The BoardGameGeek page for the game.
 
** The BoardGameGeek page for the game.
 
* Consider writing a summary of the rules.
 
* Consider writing a summary of the rules.
 +
 +
Note: later can be done by community members, you don't actually have to do it yourself
 +
 +
== Level Up ==
 +
 +
When you successfully created a basic game and you want more, it's time to make it fancy!
 +
 +
* Add game externtions and variants using gameoptions file
 +
* Add user preferences for customizations
 +
* Use theming! That involves replacing hardwood background, changing tooltips, using different sounds, different fonts, changing state prompt and logs
 +
* You can use fancy scoring board at the end of game instead of default nothing
 +
* And finally super cool dice rolling, card flipping and victory points evaporating effects
 +
 +
[[Category:Studio]]

Latest revision as of 13:32, 19 September 2022

Introduction

This document is not a tutorial, but step by step instructions on how to build your own first game adaptation using BGA Studio framework.

Before you read this material, you must:

  • Read the overall presentations of the BGA Studio.
  • Some-what know the languages used by BGA Studio: PHP, SQL, HTML, CSS, Javascript
  • Setup your development environment First Steps with BGA Studio
  • Create a game using one of the available tutorials. Don't bother with a new game if you have not completed at least one of the tutorials.


If you are stuck or have questions about this page post on BGA Developers forum. If you're uncomfortable posting on the public forum you can send messages directly to developers who post answers on that forum but NOT the BGA admins. If you find typos in this wiki - fix them.

Select a First Game

For your first real game you must either

But what if the game you want is not there? If you are able to successfully publish your first game, you would gain the trust of the BGA admins and they will be happy to assist you in obtaining a license for a game you really want to do or you can request a license yourself. You can read more about game licenses on BGA Game licenses page.

Once you selected the game but before creating a new project, please take a few seconds to check that someone is not already developing this game. If it is the case, maybe you can propose to join the project?

Check the list of current projects

Even if you see a few projects with name of the game they may not be active. There are a lot of abandoned game projects. If it's not clear by the status, post to the Developers forum asking if anybody is actively working on the project or send a message to the developers listed for the abandoned projects, and at the same time ask admins on the same forum to post to send you graphics for that game if they have them (there a button on Available Licenses page to request graphics, but it will just send an email).

If your goal was to fix bugs in an existing project, first try to locate it on Studio, projects developed by BGA admins are not in the Studio. Then get read only access to the project and you can create your own as a copy of the existing one. Contact existing project admin about getting write access to the original project or if they are willing to take your patches - apply them.

If you want to take over an existing project first ask on the forum to see if the project is abandoned, then get read only access (via project list) and see if this is worth using it, if it has no code or graphics just start from the scratch, don't worry about project name it can be renamed later.

Create a project

If you have not already, you have to create a project in BGA Studio for this game. If the original game name is taken use gamenameYOURINITIALS template, i.e."heartsla". Don't worry too much about the name, if the game is good enough to publish, it will be renamed to its original name.

Find and start the game in turn based mode, make sure it works.

Second, modify the text in .tpl file, reload the page in the browser and make sure your ftp sync works as expected. Note: if you have not setup FTP auto-sync yet, do it now, manually copying files is a no-starter.

Update your project status on Control Panel > Manage games page, you can say "development started" or "waiting for the license" or "waiting for graphics" or a combination of those.


Development Tools

At some point, you need to setup your development environment which consists of multiple tools, such as

  • Editor or IDE
  • Browser with dev tools
  • File sync tools
  • BGA Web tools
  • Image manipulation tools
  • Version control tools

Please scan through articles from Studio#BGA_Studio_user_guide especially those related to debugging and tools, there is a lot of useful info there.

Hook version control system

If it's a real game, I would commit the code to version control right at the start. You are going to find yourself in a situation where the game does not even start anymore and there is no way of debugging it unless you have a way to revert. That is where version control becomes very handy. If you don't know what I am talking about then at least back-up your files after each of the major steps. Starting now. You can also create a project on github, but make sure you don't commit original publisher graphics files and you don't include a file with your sftp password (github is automatically crawled for passwords by hackers; a hacking attempt occurred on BGA studio for this reason in June 2020). You can (and should) also commit your modification periodically via Studio Control Panel.

Obtain game graphics

If you developing a game from the Available Licenses section, ask the admins to send you graphics by using the Request Art Files button available on the studio license page. While that request is being processed (it can take time, as it often requires some back and forth between the admins and the publishers) you can proceed to the next step - project creation.

If you don't get original graphics you go to Scavenger Hunt

  • If you developing a public domain card game you can borrow standard cards from BGA generic assets, see Common_board_game_elements_image_resources
  • Standard game pieces - meeples, cubes, dice can be found here as well Common_board_game_elements_image_resources
  • Go to boardgamegeek.com find your game and obtain 3D game box image, 2D box image, and if you are lucky they also sometimes have boards and token scans in "Game Pieces" section of Images
  • If that fails, google "boardgame <name>" and check the Images section
  • Get the rules PDF as well, there're tools that allow you to extract graphics from PDF, which are usually good for meeples, cubes and such (can use pdfimages command line tool)

Once you get the graphics one way or another you have to massage them to fit in the BGA criteria, which usually involves

  • If the publisher sends graphics in one token/card per file mode, you have to stitch them in sprite and scale down
  • For non square tiles and game pieces you need transparency
  • Usually you chop off the scoring "ring" around the board of the game since the scoring track is not needed for online adaptation

More details about graphics requirements can be found here Game art: img directory.

Rrr search.png

Obtain game documentation

Also at this time obtain an electronic copy of rules, such as PDF (English version).

Also grab any other documents you may find on boardgamegeek such as FAQ, additional Reference books, and user created assistant documents, such as cheat-sheets (may be easier to get data from these than trying to scrub pdf). You create and place them in the doc/ folder of the project then exclude them from version control. There is also a misc/ folder now but it will hold up to 1 Mb of data files which would be checked in, so rules pdf's may not fit there.


Update game info and box graphics

Even if is not playable yet, start with making sure the game looks descent in the game selector, meaning it has nice box graphics and the information is correct.

For that we need to edit gameinfos.inc.php. What you would do for the real game you would go to http://boardgamegeek.com find the game and use information from the website to fill the gameinfos.


The next step is to replace game_box.png with proper images, usually, you can find all images including the publisher logo on the boardgamegeek website.

Game metadata images, such box image are now managed in separate tool.

Details about images can be found here: Game art: img directory.


Gamepanel sharedcode.png

Now try to start the game again. If you some-how introduced a syntax error in gameinfos file it may not actually work (game won't start). Always use "Express Start" button to start the game. You should see a standard state prompt from template. You should see X players on the right, testdude0 .. testdudeX-1. To switch between them press the red arrow button near their names, it will open another tab. This way you don't need to login and logout from multiple accounts!

Fix source copyright

Now since you have your own project, you want to put your name in the copyright header, so replace

 © <Your name here> <Your email address here>

with

 © John Snow <jsnow@gameofthrones.com>

Well not exactly this but whatever your real name is. For all files in the project directory, it's about 10 files. Make sure the project still starts after that :)

Reduce the Rules

Programming a game will take a lot more time than you may think. Most of the projects in the studio are abandoned because of a lack of patience or skill. To keep sane, start the game with *reduced* rules and try to complete that first.

  • If it has any expansions - do not even attempt to deal with them, not even - "I will just add graphics for them now and not use" - waste of time if you don't complete basic
  • If it has advanced rules - start with basic rules only, i.e. "beginner game"
  • If it has special rules for 2 players vs 4, start with the most basic form (i.e. 4), restrict to 4 players
  • If it has 50 unique cards of 2 each - start with 2 unique cards with 25 each (just to keep it moving)
  • Any sort of rules that you think can be removed and not included in base - set aside for now
  • Ignore any sort of cool animations - dice rolling, card flipping, choo-choo sounds of the trains - all this fluff can be added later


Design Game Elements

Technically game elements are already designed by a board game designer but your job is to map them to program space. Each physical piece (card, token, cube) will leave footprints all over the code (unfortunately in multiple disconnected places). To prepare the game you need to sort out these elements, i.e. categorize. I usually have the following categorization (in object oriented view):

  • Instance - all individual pieces are instances, i.e. two red cubes are two instances of 'red cube' type (class)
  • Type - element type which distinctly represents that element in appearance (i.e. red cube is a different type than blue cube)
  • Super Type - one of the more common types that similar properties (i.e. red OR cube)
  • Player color - supertype specific for player color (sometimes there are no colors but like player 1 - but is conceptually the same, I use color because it's easier to track)

Personally, I like to encode my elements in a string using reverse DNS notation listing all the properties above, i.e.

 meeple_ff0000_7 - this is instance #7 of type meeple_ff0000 (red meeple)

Or

 card_yellow_magic_2 - this is instance #2 of a yellow card (in this case yellow is the color of the deck, not related to player color) that can do magic

So every game element would be in the

1. Database - instances. The db record would be something like

 key|location|state
 meeple_ff0000_7|slot_action_2|1
 meeple_ff0000_2|tableau_ff0000|0

2. Material file - types and supertypes, we never need repeating info here, so never list individual instances but only types or supertypes, in this case, we don't really need to define red meeple vs blue meeple

 'meeple'=>{'name'=>totranslate('Meeple')}

3. Client (js, css, tpl, etc) - instances and types. For example my meeple will be like

  <div id="meeple_ff0000_7" class="meeple meeple_ff0000"></div>

with .css something like

 .meeple { background-image: url(img/tokens.png); width: 2em; height: 2em;}
 .meeple_ff0000 {background-position: 20% 0%;}

4. Game php - setup and logic. During setup, you have to generate all the pieces and place them in the right positions. Also sometimes you need to reference elements to code the logic (I usually try to encode all rules in the material file as much as possible)

For complex card games, I think it is best to keep all these info and rules in a spreadsheet and generate other files such as material.inc.php. See more info below about the design of the individual layers.

Create Initial Layout and Game Graphics

Mentally it is easier to start with the game layout and graphics pieces. Even when nothing is working it gives you moral satisfaction!

There are a few ways how the html could have been generated. You could have started with nothing and generate it all by javascript, or you could have started with complete game markup in html and make javascript just hide and move pieces around. BGA framework also provides a third way, which is mix of both, plus a template engine to generate HTML using PHP. The only thing that is really annoying about the template engine is that you cannot put any translatable strings in the template (which means any visible text at all). If you are using the template approach all strings have to be extracted as variables and injected through PHP (.view.php). This page explains the template engine in great detail:Template Engine.

The other disadvantage of the template engine is you cannot run and debug it locally, in the beginning of development it's a lot faster run off local pages, you can do it with some trickery described here Tools and Tips for BGA Studio

During this step you have to decide what technical solutions you will be using, such as

  • Use inline positioning of all moving pieces, controlled by JS. There are a few classes that already exist in Studio to help with that (see Game Interface - Client Side). OR use html/css layout engine to position pieces (my personal choice).
  • Use BGA template engine OR create all ui elements by JS OR manually write or generate complete html markup. The game usually contains 200-300 pieces, it seems wrong but actually its faster to type all of this up in html/css when trying write than debug code for page generator.

Static HTML markup also means you have to use players color or abstracted player number (such as red is 1, blue is 2) not player id's anywhere in JS, since player id is dynamic by nature.

Start by creating and mapping all games assets, best way is probably to open rule book on "boardgame contents" page and go through every piece. Every piece of boardgame would have its "print" in multiple files in your game:

  • Some sort of "div" in html, where id of element match id of element in database (easiest way)
  • Css for the element (either unique or for class), usually with background property refering to part of sprite image
  • Entry in material.inc.php referring to static properties of the element, i.e. name, tooltip, rules, etc
  • Entry in .tpl file to represent a static or initial location on the table OR creation template

Here are some specific examples:

Game Board

Create entry in .tpl file for the board, it will be static entry as we never need to create this dynamically

  <div id="board" class="board shadow board4p"> ... </div>

Create entry in .css file for this board and other board variants (in example below we have 4 ppl board which is diffrent than 2 ppl board)

.board {
	position: relative;
	width: 980px;
	height: 433px;
	margin-bottom: 5px;
}

.board4p {
	background-image: url(img/board4p.jpg);
}

That would be pretty much it for the board itself, as it does not really need a tooltip so we don't need entry in material.inc.php


Game Board Slots

These are interactive areas on the board, usually illustrated as such. In most cases you can get away with rectangular shapes, but sometimes you have to create circle or oval shapes (and in really advanced case would be some svg paths). For slots you can do the following:

Entry in material.inc.php

$this->token_types = array(
...
'slot_action_2' => array(
  'type' => 'slot_action',
  'name' => clienttranslate("2 Gray Track Advancements"),
  'tooltip' => clienttranslate("This action gives you two advancements of gray track. You cannot use this action if you cannot complete all advancements."),
  'o'=>"1,0,0,gg", // automatic rules
),
...

Entry in template inside the "board" div

	<div id="slot_action_2" class="slot_action_2 slot_action slot_w_1 slot"></div>

Entry in .css with absolute position within the board (its actually better to use percentage - would be easier to scale later)

.slot_action_2 {
	top: 83px;
	left: 37px;
}
.slot_action {
	position: absolute;
	width: 46px;
	height: 26px;
	padding: 9px 7px 6px 4px;
}

Meeples - also cards, tokens, other mobile stuff

In CSS these guys will use "sprite" images with transparency, so it will look like this this:

.meeple {
	background-image: url(img/tokens.png);
	width: 25px;
	height: 25px;
}
.meeple_ff0000 { /* red */
	background-position: 14% 0%;
}

As for creation you can either generate them using template (where whole thing wrapped in template block and {COLOR} replace with all possible colors in .view.php

 <div id="meeple_{COLOR}_1" class="meeple meeple_{COLOR} meepleable"></div>
 <div id="meeple_{COLOR}_2" class="meeple meeple_{COLOR} meepleable"></div>
 ...

Or you can declare a template js var in .tpl file

    var jstpl_mepple = '<div id="meeple_${color}_${num}" class="meeple meeple_${color} meepleable"></div>'; // this is in .tpl file at the bottom

and create in js, like this

 var tokenDiv = this.format_block('jstpl_mepple', {
                                "color" : color,
                                "num" : i
                            }); // this in js code somewhere before placing it

If you dealing with cards and decks, there are pre-build components that can generate stuff for you.

When do you create dom element matching game element?

  • If you have static layout you create it in .tpl file and its always there, but during initial setup or during notification it moved in proper spot (including "removed from the game" spot)
  • If you dynamically generated pieces you create the element during notification, and sometimes during animation. Also don't forgot to hook event listener to it if its interactive.


One of the greatest parts about the web is all client side code can be viewed in your browser, so if you wondering how something is done in another BGA game just load the page and spy on it! In Chrome that would be right click and "Inspect Element". That would immediately show html of the given element alongside with css used for it (on the right). Another great way to learn is you can add yourself to any BGA project as read only from the project page!

So at the end of this stage you should complete the following (keeping in mind reduced rules/material for first iteration):

  • Create a layout of the game, with positioning of main board, player areas, zones, other supporting areas, etc
  • Create css and html snippets for all game pieces: boards, tokens, meeples, etc. Place them all in initial template (even if they're not supposed to be visible at start). I.e. create fake player's hand with cards, put meeples on the board
  • Hook layout to number of players and colors picked by the game and test with multiple players
  • Figure out what you want to display in mini-player boards and hook it up
  • Create material.inc.php and populate with initial values (names, tooltips, rules) for all relevant game elements or classes of elements

If at this time you don't have graphics yet create pieces with just CSS, you can use shape, background color and object text using css ::after construct to fake the pieces.


Injected text.png


Create Database Schema

At some point you have to design your game database. Do it sooner then later since it would be harder to change it later, since some code decisions would be based on that.

If you have grid-based abstract game use template from reversi, if you have a card game use template from hearts (the cards one also commented out in generated template for your project). The cards database goes with php class called Deck.

In general make it as simple as possible. Think about it, your game has 300 pieces (likely less). Using database to store this amount of data is like shooting a mosquito with a tank. Anything more complex then one table with 5 columns or two tables will only going to make it harder to develop and not improve performance. You can forget about normalising and any fancy stuff you learn about databases in school. String field for a primary key would be as fast as integer when we talking about this size of data. So don't over-optimize with trying to have integers field that have state based on bitmask!

Also remember that static (non dynamic) information about the game does not need to be stored in the database, that all include everything that does not change, i.e all token/card properties such as name, tooltips, "strength", color, etc. This is stored in material.inc.php and server has access to it from anywhere, as well as client if you send it with getAllDatas(). The only reason store some of it in database if it can affect your queries (i.e. type of token).

Usually design process will contain the following steps:

  • Design game model - model that represent your game in progress, such as at any given step you can restore the game from that model
  • Mapping - now map real game to that model
  • Encoding - now represent this model in database and material file with reasonable amount of fields

Example: The card game

  • In real word to "save" the game we take a picture a play area, save cards from it, then put away draw deck, discard and hand of each player separately and mark it, also we will record current scoring (if any) and who's turn was it
  • Framework handles state machine transition, so you don't have to worry about database design for that (i.e. who's turn it is, what phase of the game we are at, you still have to design it but as part of state machine step)
  • Also framework supports basic player information, color, order around the table, basic scoring, etc, so you don't have to worry about it either
  • The only thing you need in your database is state of the "board", which is "where each pieces is, and in what state", or (position,rotation) pair.
  • The card state is very simple, it's usually "face up/face down", "tapped/untapped", "right side up/up side down"
  • As position go we never need real x,y,z. We need to know what "zone" card was, and depending on the zone it may sometimes need an extra "z" or "x" as card order. The zone position itself usually static or irrelevant.
  • So our model is: we have cards, which have some attributes, at any given point in time they belong to a "zone", and can also have order and state
  • Now for mapping we should consider what info changes and what info is static, static info is always candidate for material file or html
  • For dynamic stuff we should try to reduce amount of fields we need, i.e. we need a field for card, so its one, we need to know what zone cards belong to, its 2, and we have possible few other fields, but if you look closely at you game you may find out that most of the zone only need one attribute at a time, i.e. draw pile always have cards face down, hand always face up, also for hand and discard order does not matter at all (but for draw it does matter). So in majority of cases we can get away with one single extra integer field representing state or order
  • In real database both card and zone will be integers as primary keys referring to additional tables, but in our case its total overkill, so they can be strings as easily

You can also use cards database schema and Deck implementation for most purposes (even you not dealing with cards).

CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS `card` (
  `card_id` int(10) unsigned NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
  `card_type` varchar(16) NOT NULL,
  `card_type_arg` int(11) NOT NULL,
  `card_location` varchar(16) NOT NULL,
  `card_location_arg` int(11) NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`card_id`)
) ENGINE=InnoDB DEFAULT CHARSET=utf8 AUTO_INCREMENT=1 ;

Another Example: The euro game

See details on database design for euro game at BGA_Studio_Cookbook#Database_for_The_euro_game


So the piece mapping for non-grid based games can be in most case represented by (string: token_key, string: location, int: state), example of such database schema can be found here: dbmodel.sql and class implementing access to it here tokens.php.

CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS `token` (
  `token_key` varchar(32) NOT NULL,
  `token_location` varchar(32) NOT NULL,
  `token_state` int(10),
  PRIMARY KEY (`token_key`)
) ENGINE=InnoDB DEFAULT CHARSET=utf8;


See Game database model: dbmodel.sql for details about editing the file.

Note: the simpler the database is the less debugging of db issues you have to deal with including database migration. The tokens database above - if you use it you never have to worry about migration because you don't need extra tables in 95% of the games. Here are some example of how real games are mapped to such database:

Chess

- chess is grid base game and normally you would use positional columns, but just for the sake of argument, the chess game will look like this

token
token_key token_location token_state
Q_white f3 0
P_black_2 c6 0
K_black e8 1

And the state in this case indicated that kind was moved for example (which means castling cannot be performed)


Classic card game

Lets pretend we need 2 decks for that game

token
token_key token_location token_state
Q_spades_1 hand_ff0000 0 /* state not used for hand */
10_hearts_2 tableau_ff0000 2 /* position */
10_hearts_1 tableau_common 1 /* face down */

Eminent Domain (card game)

token
token_key token_location token_state
card_tech_23 hand_ff0000 0 /* state not used for hand */
card_planet_19 tableau_ff0000 1 /* face up */
reource_s_22 /* silicon */ card_planet_19 2 /* production state */
fighter_F_1 tableau_ff0000 0


You can also look at other games that use Tokens database and access layer: Nippon, Dungeon Petz, Lewis & Clark, Battleship, Russian Railroads, Khronos

Implement Game Setup

Once you have your database schema you can do a proper game setup. Usually you open rulebook on the "Game Setup" page and implement these step by step populating the database (using db access API). Game initialization is performed in php method setupNewGame, this method is called once when game table is created. Game notifications cannot be sent during this time.

It very hard to debug this method, so this is how we recommend to structure it:

protected function setupNewGame($players, $options = []) { 
   
   // here is some generate code from template LEAVE IT UNTOUCHED
   ...

   $this->initTables(); // this is YOUR new method
}

function initTables() {
       try {
            $players = $this->loadPlayersBasicInfos();
            // code the function
            $this->activeNextPlayer(); // just in case so its not 0
            $this->initStats(); // to be coded
            // Setup the initial game situation here
            $this->initGameTables(); // to be coded
            // beggining of the turn for active player (if player state if first state)
            $player_id = $this->getActivePlayerId();
            $this->incStat(1, 'turns_number', $player_id);
            $this->incStat(1, 'turns_number');
       } catch ( Exception $e ) {
           // logging does not actually work in game init :(
           // but if you calling from php chat it will work
           $this->error("Fatal error while creating game");
           $this->dump('err', $e);
       }
}

For more tricks debugging this See Debugging setupNewGame

For the init stats, its likely that all of the are int and you can just use this genetic initializer, but your stats have to start with game_ prefix (verbatim):

    public function initStats()
    {
        // INIT GAME STATISTIC
        $all_stats = $this->getStatTypes();
        $player_stats = $all_stats['player'];
        // auto-initialize all stats that starts with game_
        // we need a prefix because there is some other system stuff
        foreach ($player_stats as $key => $value) {
            if (startsWith($key, 'game_')) {
                $this->initStat('player', $key, 0);
            }
            if ($key === 'turns_number') {
                $this->initStat('player', $key, 0);
            }
        }
        $table_stats = $all_stats['table'];
        foreach ($table_stats as $key => $value) {
            if (startsWith($key, 'game_')) {
                $this->initStat('table', $key, 0);
            }
            if ($key === 'turns_number') {
                $this->initStat('table', $key, 0);
            }
        }
    }

As for init game tables - if you have SQL layer you can use it to initialize everything, if not - the best would be to push everything in php array and then do one inset at the end (after all the fiddling and shuffling).

For example for the token database above, I will push all data into array, then at the end run insert, i.e.

       $values=[]; 
       $values [] = "('meeple_ff0000_1', 'home_ff0000', 0)"; // this is actually string not array
       ...
       $sql = "INSERT INTO tokens (token_id, place_id, state) VALUES " . implode($values, ',');
       $this->DbQuery($sql);

Implement One time game model synchronisation

Now at any point in the game we need to make sure that database information can be reflected back in UI, so we fix getAllDatas function to return all possible data we need to reconstruct the game. The template for getAllDatas already taking care of player info, but you have to alter it to return all other data from database visible to the "current" player.

After that on the client side we should display this data, so in your .js file in setup function (which is the receiver of getAllDatas) you add calls that handle data send by server, usually by calling animation function such as "placeToken" or "placeCard".

So this is roughtly what you need to include in getAllDatas():

  • Extra player info
  • Material file variables, unfortunately they are not included automatically. Note - I strongly recommend using only one variable for generic data information, such as $this->token_types. If you start splitting it i.e. card_types, meeple_types, building_types - it very hard to deal with this programmatically it will be lots of switches. Also call it the same as in php - otherwise its really hard to correlate.
  • Game options (if you know how to access them on cient without passing via getAllData() edit this wiki). Example has generic code to pass all options, but you can use custom individual options
  • Dump of database tables filtered by current player view
  • To be fancy you can also include php constans so you can access them in js as well, example not included
    protected function getAllDatas() {
        $result = [];

        // 1. Get information about players
        // Note: you can retrieve some extra field you added for "player" table in "dbmodel.sql" if you need it.
        // would have been much better if its just * but we not looking for easy solutions here! so it all have to be aliases
        $sql = "SELECT player_id id, player_score score, player_no no FROM player"; // note - the framework will all bunch of more fields
        $result ['players'] = self::getCollectionFromDb($sql);

        // 2. Material data
        $result['token_types'] = $this->token_types;
        // 3. Game options
        $table_options = $this->getTableOptions();
        $result ['table_options'] = [];
        foreach ( $table_options as $option_id => $option ) {
            $value = 0;
            if (array_key_exists($option_id, $this->gamestate->table_globals)) {
                $value = (int) $this->gamestate->table_globals [$option_id];
            }
            $result ['table_options'] [$option_id] = $option;
            $result ['table_options'] [$option_id] ['value'] = $value;
        }
        // 4. Rest of the database filtered by current player
        $current_player_id = self::getCurrentPlayerId(); // !! We must only return informations visible by this player !!
        $result ['tokens'] = [];
        $players_basic = $this->loadPlayersBasicInfos();
        foreach ( $players_basic as $player_id => $player_info ) {
            $color = $player_info ['player_color'];
            // tableau is public info
            $result ['tokens']+=$this->tokens->getTokensInLocation("tableau_$color"); // this is sql access layer for tokens table but it can be just raw SQL query with getCollectionFromDb kind of call
            //  hand if private info
            if ($current_player_id==$player_id) {
                $result ['tokens']+=$this->tokens->getTokensInLocation("hand_$color");
            } else {
                $result ['counters']["hand_$color"]=$this->tokens->countTokensInLocation("hand_$color");
            }
        }
        $result ['counters']["deck]=$this->tokens->countTokensInLocation("deck");
        $result ['counters']["discard"]=$this->tokens->countTokensInLocation("discard");

        return $result;
    }

Create State Machine

Now you need to create a game state machine.

The state handling spread across 4 files, so you have to make sure all the pieces are connected together. The state machine states.inc.php defines all the states, and function handlers on php side in a form of string, and if any of these functions are not implemented it would be very hard to debug because it will break in random places.

Please first watch this again BGA game state machine and then please read Your game state machine: states.inc.php.

Now the state machine should be relatively simple. If you find yourself with machine with more than 20 states its probably not the way to go. Not all the player interactions need separate states, a lot of things can be implemented directly on client, i.e. if your player need to select a reward token, which offers choice of resource, instead of two states on server just have one state on server and possible few states on client (client side states) to collect this info.

It is important to implement proper state handling on the client, usually it results in big switch in onUpdateActionButtons method.

			onUpdateActionButtons: function(stateName, args) {
				console.log('onUpdateActionButtons: ' + stateName + " " + this.isCurrentPlayerActive() + " args:", args);
				if (!this.isCurrentPlayerActive()) return;
				
				switch (stateName) {
					case 'playerTurn':
					        dojo.query('.card').addClass('active_slot'); // activate board elements, when using static connector, see user input below
                                                // add buttons
						this.addActionButton('button_pass', _('Pass'), () => {
							this.ajaxcallwrapper('pass');
						});
                                        // case...
				}

				if (this.on_client_state && !$('button_cancel')) {
					this.addActionButton('button_cancel', _('Cancel'), 'cancelLocalStateEffects', 0, 0, 'gray');
					this.addTooltip('button_cancel', _("This means cancel current action and start thinking"), '');
				}
			},

I keep onLeavingState pretty generic (and onEnteringState just for logging)

                onLeavingState: function (stateName) {
                    console.log('Leaving state: ' + stateName);
                    dojo.query('.active_slot').removeClass('active_slot');
                    dojo.query('.selected').removeClass('selected');
                },			
				


Handle Turn Order

If your game goes in clockwise order in natural sitting position nothing really needed you just use standard API and you are good. However if position is complecated it may require some trickery.

Usually turn order is done by "game state" (see state machine above). Basically it would be two choices:

  • Turn order depends on game situation (such as we take player with highest number of red cubes)
  • Turn order is custom and assign on previos step - i.e. we not playing in clockwise order anymore. In this case you either need to extend player table with new order info (CANNOT use player_no column) or use order markers that come with game (i.e. marker_ff0000 on position_1). In this we can build player array in right order and pick next player based on previous player using existing helper function such as $this->createNextPlayerTable($player_ids)

Handling turn order would go to the game state which is usually follows active player state.

Hook User Input

This step can be done before or after some of the server steps, or you go in iterations switching back and forward until you get it done, up to you.

Usually all pieces will be hooked to onclick during JS "setup" method, in addition if you create elements during server notification they have to be hooked up at that time.

Also its a good idea to give player a visual cues on what game elements are clickable now, usually it will be a style, such as "active_slot", with visual effect of white dashed outline (outline is better then border, because border changes will make piece slightly move since it changes the size) or box-shadow (i.e. neon glow), that part is done in onUpdateActionsButtons (see above)

So classic is static handlers, means handler is added in setup method using framework connect function:

 this.connect( $('my_element'), 'onclick', 'onClickOnMyElement' );

This is what is advertized in tutorials, however this is best suited for static html model - where elements are not deleted and recreated. When elements created dinamically if you using this method please be aware of memory leaks - this method stores the pointer to dom element in arrays of handlers (to be able to disconnect later), but if element is deleted you must call this.disconnect before deleting with same node reference, or it will leak.

If you using this method your handlers usually look like big ugly switch because it usually depending on state it will do right thing or deny action, typically it will look this this:


               onCard: function(event) {
                   dojo.stopEvent(event);
                   var id = event.currentTarget.id;
                   console.trace("on slot " + id);
                   if (!id) return null;
                   // check player is active
                   if (!this.isCurrentPlayerActive()) {
                       this.showMessage(__("lang_mainsite", "This is not your turn"), "error");
                       return false;
                   }
                   // check node is marked with "active_slot" class (class name is whatever you want)
                   if (!dojo.hasClass(id, 'active_slot')) {
                       this.showMoveUnauthorized();
                       return false;
                   }
                   switch (this.gamedatas.gamestate.name) {
                       case 'playerTurn': // in this case we directly sending data to the server
                           this.ajaxcallwrapper('playCard',id); // note that this wrapper also calls 'checkAction' on action parameter
                           return true;
                       case 'playerDiscard':  // in this case we need to collect more information, so we using cient state for that
                           dojo.addClass(id,'selected'); // mark card
                           this.setClientState("client_playerTurnSelectBonus", {
                               descriptionmyturn: _('${you} must select bonus for discard'),
                           });
                           return true;
                       default:
                           this.showMoveUnauthorized();
                           return false;
                   }
               },

You can also manage listeners yourself (vanilla event listeners or dojo). In this case be aware of registering double listener. See more example in Player's Input.

Alternative to static handler are dynamic handlers which are only installed on elements that are active for specific game state, given the example above we would register the listeners in playerTurn state, i.e. in onUpdateActionButtons for playerTurn:

   			dojo.query('.card').forEach((node) => {
			        dojo.addClass(node, 'active_slot');
			        dojo.addClass(node, 'temp_click_handler');
			        this.connect(node, 'click', event=>this.ajaxcallwrapper('playCard',event.currentTarget.id));
			});

Above we did not need to do the heavy validation because we only presumably added handler in right state to right node and right active player (and removed correctly in between!)

And in onLeavingState we will disconnect all of them (important!):

   			dojo.query('.temp_click_handler').forEach((node) => {
			        dojo.removeClass(node, 'active_slot');
			        dojo.removeClass(node, 'temp_click_handler');
			        this.disconnect(node, 'click');
			});

When user clicks on something, client sends an ajax call to server, server processes it and updates database, server sends notification in response, client hooks animations to server notification. See JS Notifications.

Exception to this is client states, if you need to process two step user interaction such as select meeple, place meeple, you may want to avoid sending data to server until step is complete (which may involve direct client side animation). See Multi-Step Interactions

Part of the sending notifications would be to update player's scoring, BGA uses standard control for score (on JS side), see Update Player's Score.

In BGA there is only two ways interact with the server (officially)

  • Initial data dump - when JS client starts it gets all current data via setup() method
  • Game actions - ajaxcall from client, it returns error or ok (not data), then server send butch of notifications to client

Note current ajaxcall is super vebosy and prone to errors, I suggest to use helper function. It does a lot of stuff you must do anyways.

			ajaxcallwrapper: function(action, args, handler) {
				if (!args) args = []; // this allows to skip args parameter for action which do not require them
				
				args.lock = true; // this allows to avoid rapid action clicking which can cause race condition on server

				if (this.checkAction(action)) { // this does all the proper check that player is active and action is declared
					this.ajaxcall("/" + this.game_name + "/" + this.game_name + "/" + action + ".html", args, // this is mandatory fluff 
						this, (result) => { },  // success result handler is empty - it is never needed
                                                handler); // this is real result handler - it called both on success and error, its is optional param - you rarely need it
				}
			},


When you insert a single action you have to update multiples files:

  • in ggg.js add ajaxcall, i.e. something like
 this.addActionButton('pass',_('Pass'),()=>this.ajaxcallwrapper('pass'));
  • in states.php - add action 'pass' to list of possible actions
 'possibleactions' => ['pass','playCard']
  • in action.php - add action hander, see https://en.doc.boardgamearena.com/Players_actions:_yourgamename.action.php
  • in game.php - add action hander, there you must do the following
    • call checkAction to validate the action
    • possible do more game specific check to validate what player doing is legal (even its not possible from your js side - player can cheat - not allow that)
    • do some database maniplations, using access api
    • send notifications - this is the "reply" for action
    • transition to new state (it very rare that user will remain in the same state, except for multi-active states)
  • back to ggg.js add notification subsciption and notification handler (two separate things)

Implement Notification handling and Animation

To handle notification you have to subscribe to it and implement the handlers, see JS Notifications.

You can play with animation effects you want put in place, in general all the pieces that move in real game should be moving, such as meeples, resources tokens/cubes, cards, vp tokens. Regular piece animation is provided by BGA framework, but if you use html layout positioning not inline positioning you have to remove absolute positions (inline position styling) after each move. The set of functions for relative position token animation can found in https://github.com/elaskavaia/bga-sharedcode/blob/master/sharedcode.js

If you read BGA developers guidelines you know that you should not get carried away with animation, you are creating a board game not a video game... That also applies to sound effects (in general, you should not use any sounds effects beside already provided by framework).

See Animation and DOM Manipulation for JS reference.


Wrap Up

  • Implement game progression (getGameProgression() in php)
  • Implement Zombie turn (zombieTurn() in php)
  • Define and implemented some meaningful statistics for your game (i.e. total points, point from source A, B, C...)
  • The games logs should explain what happened if player was not looking
  • You need to implemented tiebreaking (using aux score field) and updated tiebreaker description in meta-data
  • Make sure all UI strings are marked for translation
  • UI elements which are images (i.e. tokens, cards) should have tooltips

Alpha

When you think you game is completely working there is still bunch of stuff you have to do/check before telling admin that game is ready, please go though this Pre-release checklist.

If you think its completely ready, create a build and click on the "Request ALPHA status" button and admins will check your game and push it to alpha.

Finally, visit the game page for your alpha game (https://boardgamearena.com/gamepanel?game=…) to add the following information if you can:

  • Links to the rules (in multiple languages if available).
  • Links to teaching videos.
  • In the "On the web" section, links to:
    • The official website for the game (if there is one).
    • The BoardGameGeek page for the game.
  • Consider writing a summary of the rules.

Note: later can be done by community members, you don't actually have to do it yourself

Level Up

When you successfully created a basic game and you want more, it's time to make it fancy!

  • Add game externtions and variants using gameoptions file
  • Add user preferences for customizations
  • Use theming! That involves replacing hardwood background, changing tooltips, using different sounds, different fonts, changing state prompt and logs
  • You can use fancy scoring board at the end of game instead of default nothing
  • And finally super cool dice rolling, card flipping and victory points evaporating effects